New Year's resolutions are notoriously tough to keep.
Maybe it's because they're the same thing year after year. Shake things up in 2017 by trying something new.
Here are 17 ways to get healthy in 2017.
1. Intensify your workout. High-intensity interval training means short bursts of tough exercise followed by short rest periods. The benefits? Burn more calories in a short time and pump up your heart rate. Your favorite gym probably has a class, or you can check out OrangeTheory and Evolve Studio, which specialize in the training.
2. Learn to eat, not diet. Area hospitals and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center regularly offer free nutrition and cooking classes. Check their websites and TheAdvocate.com calendars for more information.
3. Try mountain biking. There are no mountains within hundreds of miles of Louisiana, but several off-road trails built for bicycles are within an easy drive. Novice riders can try the the BREC Comite River Park in Baton Rouge or the New Orleans Metro Area Mountain Bike Organization's Spillway Trail in Norco. Advanced cyclists can test their skill and fitness on the steep hills of The Beast at the West Feliciana Sports Park in St. Francisville.
4. Be still. Learn to meditate and focus at a yoga studio, or in a sensory deprivation tank at Fleauxt in Baton Rouge or NOLA Float Tanks in New Orleans.
5. Run! These days, you can hit a 5K or half-marathon nearly every weekend, and you can find running groups at athletic stores like Varsity Sports and Fleet Feet or even a bar or a coffee shop. This month, the Louisiana Marathon Weekend offers runs for all levels of competitors.
6. Or walk! Experts at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center recommend walking as the best exercise for people of all fitness levels and age groups. Walking down your street can be the first step to physical health.
7. Do a push-up. Then do another. Push-ups are just as good for your body as a bench press, according to a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. But push-ups don't take any equipment, and they work your arms, legs, chest and core.
8. Join a health study. Baton Rouge's Pennington Biomedical Research Center runs dozens of studies a year, and they need participants of all shapes, sizes and ages. They often come with state-of-the-art health monitoring and advice from respected researchers, not to mention many are paying gigs. Learn more at pbrc.edu/clinical-trials/ or call (225) 763-2500.
9. Learn how much you move. Wear a fitness tracker (popular brands include Fitbit, Jawbone and Garmin) for a few months and learn how much you actually move. Walking fewer than 5,000 steps a day means you're sedentary, researchers say. Shoot for 7,500 or more steps.
10. Try yoga. Ease into physical fitness with an introductory class. You can find them at most gyms and at several studios. Then increase your flexibility, peace of mind and core strength with advanced classes. Or try aerial yoga and use a hanging hammock to reach more positions. There's also hot yoga, where the room is heated to 104 degrees to intensify the workout.
11. Learn to throw a punch. Boxing, kickboxing and krav maga classes are available across south Louisiana so you can burn calories, build muscles and kick butt.
12. Work with a trainer. Many gyms offer a free session or two-week trial with a personal trainer who can help you establish fitness goals, evaluate your body's limitations and design a workout program especially for you. While regular access to a trainer can be pricey, group classes cost less. Some trainers will design a plan, then let you work out solo.
13. Drink more water. Studies have debunked the idea that you need eight glasses of water a day. But consuming calorie-free, no-cost tap water can help you meet your fitness goals.
14. Count your calories. For a few weeks, chart what you actually eat and drink. You may be surprised at how much you actually consume.
15. Take a hike. Go for a long walk at BREC's Frenchtown Road Conservation Area or see the small waterfalls of the Clark Creek Natural Area north of St. Francisville.
16. Meet a dietitian. Many insurance programs will cover a meeting with a registered dietitian who can tailor meals to your needs.
17. Work out at home. Interactive exercise programs can be streamed to your television or computer. Whether you love cycling, yoga or strength training, there is a service to which you can subscribe. It's perfect for young parents or busy professionals.